Tokyo is the most common starting point for travelers to Japan, so that’s why it tops our list. However, this is a city that you’ll love almost instantaneously. This is an extremely busy and fast-paced city that will take your breath away. Here you’ll find a unique mix of traditional Japanese and modern attractions, which make it a top tourist destination. Don’t miss the Imperial Palace, the Sensoji Temple, and the Ginza. The Tsukiji fish market is an excellent place to try locally caught fish for sushi. Try to take it all in and simply people-watch until you get your bearings. Great places to do this in Tokyo are Shibuya Yoyogi Park.
There are lots of reasons to visit Japan, but beer doesn’t always top that list. However, beer lovers simply must visit Sapporo, which is famous for beer and the capital of Hokkaido, the northernmost mountainous island of Japan. The 1972 Olympic Winter Games were in this area and brought it onto the map. But one of most interesting reasons to visit Sapporo today is the ramen-themed park! The main types of ramen soup to try are shoyu, shio, miso, and tonkotsu, so make sure to try them all so that you can pick your favorite! If you visit in February, you can also attend the Sapporo Snow Festival and see the famous snow sculptures.
The largest city in Kyushu, Fukuoka used to be two towns before the different areas joined to form the city we know today. A friendly, welcoming place, what Fukuoka lacks in terms of actual sights, it more than makes up for in its charm and pleasant atmosphere. With a couple of great museums, some great architecture, delicious ramen, and the chance to see their famous baseball team in action, Fukuoka is well worth a visit for all that it has to offer. Lying on the banks of the river running through it, there are some lovely temples dotted around the city and its surroundings. Many people use Fukuoka as a base from which to explore the rest of Kyushu.
Osaka is a huge business hub in Japan and home to many global businesses and international corporations. But even if you’re traveling here for pleasure, it’s a quirky city that’s a favorite among foodies as well. The countryside around Osaka is also really peaceful if you need a break from city life. Some things to check out in Osaka include the Shinsaibashi shopping district, Video Game Bar Space Station, Kaiyukan aquarium, and Dontonbori entertainment district after dark.
Japan’s unofficial cultural capital, Kyoto, was also the country’s official capital for over 1,000 years. The city is home to a number of important cultural sites, including over 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Kyoto is the place to go to experience geisha (or geiko, as they are known in Kansai) culture; the annual geisha dances held each spring are one of the city’s highlights. Kyoto is also known for its kaiseki (elevated Japanese cuisine), ryokan (traditional Japanese inns), and historic architecture.